It seems to have become a tradition for me to miss World Pinhole Day. This year’s landed last Sunday. I was reminded of it as I was organising my studio and came across of a bundle of prints I hadn’t seen in a few years; Pinhole work that I produced about 10 years ago while conducting workshops in Slovakia and Finland. While conducting workshops I typically demonstrate techniques and often take the opportunity to try new things with the students.
I propose we rename it, World Pinhole Day Week. For this World Pinhole Day Week I’m posting a series starting with a self portrait, produced at a workshop I conducted at Saimaa University in eastern Finland (very close to Russia). I believe it was in the spring of 2012, and would have been close to exactly 10 years ago to the day as I flew out of St. Petersburg just after the Victory Day parade on May 9. The images were photographed with a simple multi-hole camera made out of an 8×10” photo paper box, and shot onto sheets of 8×10” photo paper, producing paper negatives. The camera has been lost, so I can’t tell you how many apertures it had.
It’s always interesting to come across old work not seen in a long while and look at it with fresh eyes. Seeing it today, it’s more interesting than I remember, and is giving me the itch to do some new pinhole work.
If you haven’t tried it, pinhole photography is a means to break down photography to its basic components and experience a raw interaction with light and time. It will change how you think about photography. For myself pinhole photography has liberated me from my years of training to exact and control, to a collaborative relationship with the medium – exploring the possibilities in tandem.
I’ve led pinhole photography workshops with photography teachers, photography students, design students, secondary school art students, and individuals. It’s always fun. Along with Saimaa University in Finland, I’ve conducted the workshop a couple times in Slovakia as part of a photography festival, at colleges in Barcelona and Krakow, and at multiple locations in Toronto. The beauty of this workshop is that a darkroom is not required. Only a room that can be made light tight, can get a little messy, and has access to water. Some of the most interesting results have come from locations that have had the most primitive facilities.
If anyone is interested in a workshop, send me a message. I’d be happy to discuss it with you.